By Kyle Kittredge
A silence went over the crowd at the Freedom Café on Tuesday night as members of UNH’s English honor society Sigma Tau Delta conducted their second annual Scream Slam, where students read spooky stories just in time for Halloween.
The event was successful, with students filling up the cozy seating of the Freedom Café, where free hot chocolate, coffee, pizza and confidence boosts were open to all.
The Scream Slam was also a huge success last year, prompting Sigma Tau Delta to bring it back.
“The Halloween-themed slam we brought back was hugely popular,” said Moira Wright, the student co-president of the group, “people just really enjoyed it, and came to watch. It was a chill vibe.”
Students could read a work of their own, or a previously written work, all of which had to involve a Halloween or spooky theme.
Even if students did not have anything prepared, printed out poems and short stories were available if students wanted to perform.
Senior member of Sigma Tau Delta John Brescia performed first, opening with a reading of a poem called “Invitation” by Shel Silverstein.
Brescia also performed one of his own works, a flash fiction short story called “Noises,” and a reading of “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe.
“The intro poem I read was by Shel Silverstein…and that one always caught with me,” Brescia said, “I thought it was a good intro into a storytelling segment.”
“Plus I read “The Raven” because it’s Halloween,” he added.
Junior Rebecca Bishop read her own story titled, “The Witching Hour” in “the spirit of Halloween.”
Bishop’s story started out by saying, “I met her on a moonlit night, her lips red and departing, in a gasp of slightly startled fright,” and concluded with a round of applause from the crowd.
Bishop also created a Halloween haiku, and sang “Monster Mash.”
Wright even jumped in at one point, and read “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allen Poe, then recited, “This is Halloween,” along with the other co-president of Sigma Tau Delta, Heather Bies.
Each performance was rated anonymously, on a scale of one to five, by everyone who attended.
The prize for the top three winners in the two categories, original pieces and ones that have already been written, was a Halloween bucket of candy.
Describing the atmosphere, Brescia said it was “happily, slightly random.”
Juniors Kelley McDonnell and her friend Amanda Mcllhargy attended, describing the feel as “really welcoming and pretty cozy.”
“I have some musical friends that I feel like I would want to bring here. I think they would like it a lot,” McIlhargy said.
“We usually don’t got to a lot of campus things. It’s new to us, but it’s not like all of the typical stuff you would find at a college,” McDonnell added, “it’s different from regular fraternity and organizations stuff.”